Here's another "end of the year" post about where we stand halfway through a very exciting season in the Big 4 leagues of international soccer (Bundesliga, EPL, La Liga, and Serie A).* Below is a set of calculations of offensive production (goals per match) at home (the first graph) and away (the second graph). The graphs show how the teams ranked from most to fewest goals scored as of Dec. 21.
Aside from the fact that the distribution of goals scored at home is slightly to the right compared to what it is when teams play away (reflecting the fact that teams, on average, score more at home than away), we see a huge range of goals scored across teams in the four leagues. So take a look to see who's been great and who's been woeful offensively. First, here are the home goal scoring records of all teams.
The best of the best in Europe's top leagues when playing at home is clearly Real Madrid with an impressive 3.25 goals per match; in fact, it's not even close. Overall, the Top 3 teams are Real, Man U, and Barcelona, with the latter two teams scoring slightly fewer than 3 goals when playing at home. And while these three teams are in a league by themselves, a good number of teams score more than 2 goals per match when they play at home. The Top 10 home scoring teams in Europe also include Stuttgart, Juventus, Arsenal, Villareal, Dortmund, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich.
So who's the worst offensive team at home? Genoa "lead" the pack of teams that cannot score at home with .75 goals per home match. And four other teams have scored fewer than one goal per home match: Bari, Parma, Cesena, and Wigan - catenaccio anyone? - revealing that bad Serie A teams just don't score. The biggest surprise among the low-scoring teams: Man City with 1 goal per home match (and this is not counting its most recent home loss).
So what happens to offensive production when teams travel? Take a look at s goals scored on the road.
Here we see that Barca is playing by far the best offense on the road with an astonishing 3.625 goals per match when playing away from Camp Nou. But the interesting thing about the numbers is not simply that no other team comes close, but that the next four teams are all from the Bundesliga, with Leverkusen leading the pack at 2.4 goals, followed by Dortmund (2.3), Mainz (2.1), and lowly Moenchengladbach (1.9). Interestingly, Man City has been scoring much more on the road than at home.
On the flip side, lots of teams score fewer than 1 goals when playing away, some even fewer than half a goal. The bottom 5 teams all score fewer than .5 goals when playing away from home, and again, none of them are Bundesliga teams. Instead, they include Lecce, Brescia, and Cesena (again) from Serie A, and La Coruna and Hercules from La Liga. Hercules' average of .375 road goals their win at Barca's Camp Noú on Sep.11 even more remarkable than it otherwise already was.
Comparing the leagues, these numbers suggest that offensive production is very lopsided in La Liga, with the best teams shooting their opponents' lights out, while the worst teams can't buy a goal (to mix metaphors just a bit). And while things aren't quite as uneven in Serie A, they're close. So, on offensive production alone, Bundesliga and Premier League teams appear more evenly matched so far this season.
In the next few days, I'll take a look at defensive production, too, to see where we stand halfway through the season.
* With apologies to all the hardworking soccer professionals around the globe. In the new year, I hope to have more posts comparing more leagues than "just" the Big 4. Stay tuned.